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The numbers tell a different story. According to the Statistics Canada Incident-based crime statistics, total prostitution rates in Ottawa were not only higher than the average federal and provincial rates, but also higher than nearby metropolitan cities, such as Toronto and Montreal.
This data shows that last year, the prostitution rate per , people in the City of Ottawa was 2. Bruckert has been engaged in research on the sex work industry for over 20 years. Bruckert explains that police have mobilized a community against the street-based sex industry, spoken publically about it and have made the issue one of their pillars. In , Bill C was introduced, making it illegal to purchase sexual services, but legal to sell them.
Jeff LeBlanc of the Ottawa Police says the biggest challenge is finding a balance between the rights of the sex trade workers and responding to complaints from the neighbourhood. Areas in Ottawa such as Carlingwood, Hintonburg and Gladstone are more likely to see sex workers, Bruckert explained. But Vanier is one of the biggest street-level prostitution locations, not only in Ottawa, but amongst other major cities as well.
In larger cities such as Toronto, the sex trade has moved more towards online advertisements that can go unnoticed. In Ottawa, the street-based industry still remains an issue, LeBlanc adds.
The Crime Trend Report from the City of Ottawa shows that 90 per cent of reported prostitution related incidents were cleared from charges.